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The Fed’s efforts to drive down unemployment and raise inflation to its target rate mean it isn’t meeting either of its dual mandates: to maximize employment and maintain price stability. That makes it more likely that the Fed will maintain its current level of bond purchases until the end of the year or later.
"We expect the Fed will maintain the current purchase pace into early 2014, then taper gradually," Michael Hanson, a senior economist, wrote in a report for BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.
The Fed has been joined by other major central banks in seeking to strengthen growth and reduce high unemployment.
The European Central Bank could cut its benchmark lending rate from a record low of 0.75 as soon as Thursday because the euro area’s economy remains stagnant.
Unemployment for the eurozone is 12.1 percent. And the ECB predicts that the euro economy will shrink 0.5 percent in 2013.
Japan’s central bank has acted to flood its financial system with more money to try to raise consumer prices, encourage borrowing and help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of a prolonged slump. Economists say Japanese consumers will spend more if they know prices are going to rise.
The Bank of Japan has kept its benchmark rate between 0 and 0.1 percent to try to stimulate borrowing and spending.
The Fed’s action Wednesday was supported on an 11-1 vote. Esther George, president of the Kansas City regional Fed bank, dissented for a third straight meeting. The statement said George remained concern that the Fed’s aggressive stimulus could heighten the risk of inflation and financial instability.
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